Title: Leaning Into the Fall
Series: Leaning Into Stories, #2
Author: Lane Hayes
Release Date: March 10
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Length: Approximately 77K words
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Bisexual, humor, San Francisco, May to December romance
Nick Jorgensen is a quirky genius. He’s made a fortune in the competitive high tech field with his quick mind and attention to detail. He believes in hard work and trusting his gut. And he believes in karma. It’s the only thing that makes sense. People are difficult, but numbers never lie. In the disastrous wake of a broken engagement to an investor’s daughter, Nick is more certain than ever he isn’t relationship material.
Wes Conrad owns a thriving winery in Napa Valley. The relaxed atmosphere is a welcome departure from his former career as a high-rolling businessman. Wes’s laid-back nature is laced with a fierceness that appeals to Nick. In spite of his best intention to steer clear of complications, Nick can’t fight his growing attraction to the sexy older man who seems to understand him. Even the broken parts he doesn’t get himself. However, when Wes’s past collides with Nick’s present, both men will have to have to decide if they’re ready to lean into the ultimate fall.
Wes led me to a small room at the opposite end of the building filled with barrels. The temperature dipped at least ten degrees here and the strong scent of fermenting wine was offset by the smell of oak. I moved toward the round table in the middle and glanced up at the tower of barrels. Each was labeled and dated, but as far as I could tell, the order wasn’t chronological. I categorized and filed the numbers in my mind in an attempt to solve a mystery that probably wasn’t so mysterious after all.
“These are special reserve wines. The best of the best. Theoretically anyway,” Wes said, picking up the long-sleeved plaid shirt draped over one of the chairs at the table.
“What do the numbers mean?” I asked, running my fingers over the printed tag on the barrel.
“It’s an internal code that basically tells us exactly which vines yielded the harvest. Some have information about soil disruption or weather flux. Of course, once the wine is fermenting that information is no longer significant but—”
“Where are the dates on these labels? Isn’t timing everything in the wine business?”
“Some might argue timing is everything in every facet of life.” Wes regarded me curiously before pointing out the dates in the middle of the tag. “It’s all here. See?”
“I don’t understand your system,” I said, stuffing my hands in my back pocket and staring up at the barrels.
“It’s an internal system. You’re not meant to understand. It’s for us only. The same way you wouldn’t explain the science behind how an advanced operating system works to one of your clients. They might say they’re fascinated but they aren’t really interested in the details. Same goes for wine. People come to tour the winery every day. They want to know about grape varietals and blends and some even ask about topography, weather and the fermentation process. But the true science of wine making confounds them. At the end of the day, truth is in the bottle.”
“In vino veritas.”
Wes smiled as he pulled his shirt on. “’In wine, truth’,” he translated. “Different context, but yes… truth. Are you going to tell me why you’re here or do I have to break out a bottle of Pinot to get the real story?”
Wes’s wolfish grin spread slowly across his handsome face as he closed the distance between us. He tilted my chin with his forefinger and stared deep into my eyes as though he was trying to read my mind. Or devour me whole.
“You look like you want to eat me,” I said before I could stop myself.
“I do. I want to do lots of things to you. Is that why you’re here? You want me to eat you, Nicky?”
“You invited me.” My eyes drifted shut when he ran his fingers along my jaw then splayed his hand behind my head and tugged my hair.
“I did. I’m glad you came.”
“Well, we were in the middle of listing our all-time favorite bands or artists by decade. That’s not the kind of thing you can leave for a whole week. It’s important.”
“You’re right. What were we thinking?” He licked my bottom lip in a sensual line from one corner of my mouth to the other. “We’ll have to continue that discussion later. I want to do other things first.”
5 of 5 Stars
I’m not going to lie…I didn’t want to read this book. I did not like Nick, AT ALL, in book 1 and I KNEW Ms. Hayes was going to change my mind but I was pouting and didn’t want to believe anything good about Nick. Zane and Eric both loved and trusted him so I knew deep down that Nick had to be a good guy, I just didn’t want to like him (crosses arms like a 3 year old throwing a tantrum). But of course Ms. Hayes magical words make everything all better. Her writing is just so damn good. I get sucked in every time.
Wes was damn near perfect. He was older and wiser but he was also just understands how to live. He knows what he wants, how to get it and goes about getting it unapologetically. He is the calming anchor Nick needs. When he finally figures out what makes Nick tick, he’s fascinated instead of repulsed like most people in Nick’s life. I think I was just as entranced and enchanted as Nick was, but Nick couldn’t see past himself enough to appreciate what was right in front of him. There were exactly 2 quotes I highlighted in the story…one from Wes and one from Nick. This is Wes’…
“You break my heart, Nick. You’re perfectly imperfect. I’ve never wanted anyone the way I want you. No one. Not even Mike. I loved him carefully, without any real passion. You… you take my breath away. You’re inside me. I feel everything you do. I don’t just hear your laughter or sense when you’re sad… I feel it. I want to make you happy. I want to fix you. Make you strong when you feel weak. Make you smile when you feel like crying. But I want someone who feels that way about me too. I’m not going through the motions of a one-sided affair again.”
Nick is…a bit of a mess. Wes eventually figured out what we could see in Nick…why he claimed to be ‘broken’ and he cared enough to figure out how to be with him just as he is. Nick is a genius and that makes him a bit unique. He doesn’t have social skills and has been shunned his entire life for being ‘disabled’. He didn’t have the best childhood. Only his college buddies – Zane, Eric, Josh and Grant – have accepted him without question. He has always been a bit selfish mainly for self-preservation. He’s been ok with people not wanting to get close because he doesn’t really know how to handle relationships with anyone. When he finally finds his words, they are worth listening to…
These pieces of you… they’re so real. I want them to be mine. I don’t have much to offer in return, but whatever I have is yours. My pieces aren’t as pretty as yours. They need work, but I want you to know… I love you and I don’t want to waste any more time spinning on things that aren’t important. I just want you.”
Wes grounds and calms Nick. Nick brings out the fun side of Wes. They are quite literally made for each other. Their passion and chemistry is undeniable. Wes takes the time to understand Nick and to love him just as he needs to be loved. I absolutely loved their story! (However, there is still something missing that I hope we get in a future story!)
I can’t wait to read Josh’s story. He was a big player in this story and I’m anxious to see what happens with him. We still don’t know much at all about Grant but I’m assuming as the series progresses we will.
As always with Ms. Hayes, this is a must read!!
Meet the Author
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.
Guest Post by Lane
Depicting realistic but tasteful age differences in romances novels can be tricky business. Done correctly, they can lend depth to a story without being the entire focus of a book. The built-in element of “opposites attract” is one I adore because there really is nothing quite like that dance between two people who seemingly have nothing in common besides strong physical attraction. It makes the moment they realize the other person is their missing half all the sweeter.
Leaning Into the Fall is technically a May/December romance. Wes is fourteen years older than Nick and in many ways, he’s much more mature. However, their age difference was always a sub-plot to me. It was important to the story but not as significant as the things Wes and Nick find they have in common, like difficult upbringings and a fierce loyalty toward their friends. It’s the places where they mirror or complement each other that make their love story relatable. Neither man is perfect and both come with baggage, but who doesn’t? LOL.
Leaning Into the Fall is book 2 in my newest series. It’s set in San Francisco and features a group of college buddies. If you’ve read book 1, Leaning Into Love, you may remember Nick as Eric’s best friend. If you haven’t read it yet, no worries. All of my books are standalones and can be read in any order.
Thank you for having me on your blog today! Happy Reading!
Lane Hayes xo
3/15 – Love Bytes Reviews
3/15 – MM Book Escape
3/15 – Zipper Rippers
3/17 – Books, Dreams, Life
3/21 – Joyfully Jay
3/21 – V’s Reads
3/21 – Divine Magazine
3/21 – The Novel Approach
3/23 – Prism Book Alliance
3/23 – BFD Book Blog
3/29 – Alpha Book Club
3/29 – Bayou Book Junkie
3/29 – Boy Meets Boy Reviews
3/31 – MM Good Book Reviews
3/31 – Dog-Eared Daydreams
3/31 – Reviews by Tammy and Kim
3/31 – Happily Ever Chapter
3/31 – Top 2 Bottom Reviews
3/31 – Sinfully